Sir Winston Churchill’s handsome gold pocket watch sells at Sotheby’s London for £485,000 - more than eight times its low estimate.
By Rebecca Doulton
Earlier this week, the World Time Victory watch belonging to Sir Winston Churchill was sold for £485,000 by Sotheby’s London. Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of VE Day, and the recent Battle of Britain commemorations, the sale of this handsome gold pocket watch, exceeding its low estimate price eightfold, shows how desirable a watch can be when it has passed through the hands of one of history’s most influential leaders.
The 46mm Winston Churchill watch has a V for Victory proudly engraved on the caseback to celebrate Churchill’s winning wartime leadership. On the dial of the pocket watch, a cloisonné enamel painting of St. George, England's patron saint, is depicted with a trident in his hand slaying the dragon, a symbolic allusion to Churchill’s might and mettle before the enemy during WWII. Churchill’s determination was legendary, and the man who claimed “if you’re going through hell, keep going” inspired a group of Swiss citizens to commission the pocket watch, which he was presented with in 1946. It was, in fact, one of four individual watches created for the Allied Leaders after WWII - the others were given to Charles de Gaulle, Joseph Stalin and Henry Truman.
On the periphery of the enamel dial are the names of 44 cities, and a black and white 24-hour chapter ring with a day and night indication. The city of London, marking home time, is placed at 12 o’clock and distinguished from the other cities by its gilt colouring. The pocket watch was designed by Louis Cottier, who entrusted Agassiz and Co. to create the complicated “Heure Universelle” or World Time movement.